Keep it social!

These are a few images from my Pinterest board titled "V-dub lubber," created to help publicize my picture book, THIS OLD VAN, coming out this summer. Who knows? Maybe a few old hippies or young hipsters will stumble across the board and want to buy a book for the grandkids!
These are a few images from my Pinterest board entitled “V-dub lubber,” created to help publicize my picture book, THIS OLD VAN, coming out this summer. Who knows? Maybe a few old hippies or young hipsters will stumble across the board and want to buy a book for the grandkids!

I know we’re all nearly social-media’d out these days, but it remains an important part of our jobs, as authors and illustrators, to market our books and school visits via social media. It’s not the cheap, easy ride it once was, to market on social media, with Facebook, Twitter and even Pinterest charging for “promoted” posts pins. Still, social media remains the most effective way to get the word out about our doings.

PInterest vertical pinI’ve been experimenting with Pinterest images, such as the one pictured here, on the left. The advice will probably change in the next 10 minutes, but for now, we’re being told that taller, more vertical images get more attention on Twitter. Not sure that’s true, but it’s just as easy for me to create a vertical image as a horizontal image, so here goes. (Not that vertical images work as well on a blog — and definitely not as blog headings.)

For years, I ignored Twitter. Would peek at it now and then, like a forgotten soufflé in the oven, then would quickly slam it shut again. It’s strange for a picture book writer to admit, since the text in my books are so brief, but I just don’t think in 140 word characters. I found the ever-changing newsfeed to be dizzying. So I decided to just let it go. After all, four-year-olds are certainly not on Twitter. Then, after enough school visits where I’d learn, by evening, that someone at the school had tweeted a photo of my visit, I had to face the realization that–while my young readers aren’t on Twitter–teachers and librarians ARE. And they talk to each other.

So I’m back at it, in a haphazard fashion, donning my Ove-Glove and peeking into Twitter. I’m also back on Pinterest, which has changed quite a bit in the year or two since I last visited. And I’ve added “pin it” buttons all over this blog – as much as my WordPress newbie skills allow, at least. Check ’em out! And maybe pin a few, if you’re so inclined. Oh, and I’d be a total marketing failure if I didn’t invited you to pop in and follow a few of my Pinterest boards at

Just be careful you don’t singe your social eyebrows. 😉

When it comes to social media–or really any marketing in general–I can’t begin to tell you how much I’ve learned from various marketing podcasts. I’m  hooked. I listen to them whenever I’m in my car and every day, when I take my puggle Bookie for a walk. Here are a few of my favorites: [Read more…]

Four podcasts about author school visits

4PodcastsAuthorVisits_150I was recently reminded about a podcast I did a couple of years ago with Katie Davis on her Brain Burps About Books. Katie is a bundle of energy who’s just plain fun to chat with. We had a nice long talk about my school visits and the various ways I publicize them. A search turned up not only the interview with me, but also other Brain Burps podcasts where school visits were discussed. So check out THIS PAGE to listen to four different Brain Burps podcasts – with me, Bruce Coville, Barney Saltzberg and Jackie Reynolds (aka BeeBee the Clown) – that touched on author school visits.

Mine is the 2nd interview on the page – Session 109 – and the interview starts about 17 minutes into the podcast. (Not that you won’t want to listen to the whole thing. You will! Great stuff on Katie’s podcasts.)

My book I Know a Wee Piggy had just come out, so we talked about that, too. I’ve since changed the activity I described in the interview. Back then, I carried around little bags into which children reached to see what was inside. (One object for each color in the book.) Now I use large paper “bibs”–kind of like sandwich boards–that kid volunteers wear to represent each color. Lots of fun, very visual, and a great way to involve the audience in the reading of the book.

PlanningYourVisit_coverSmall_byKimNormanHave you signed up for Cool School Visits updates? Sign up using the form on the upper right side of this page, and you’ll receive a free copy of my guide, PLANNING YOUR AUTHOR SCHOOL VISIT, which includes sample programs and breakdowns to target your sessions to different grade levels. (If you’re on a smart phone, keep scrolling and you’ll find the form at the very bottom of any blog post, below any comments.)

Three ways to build word-of-mouth for your author visits

3WaysWordofMouth_150You can build a jazzy website, pay for expensive brochures, spend tons of time networking online and in person, but nothing will ever be as powerful as one librarian telling another librarian about how great your author visit was. Marketers know: word-of-mouth is king.

But librarians and reading specialists are busy people. The minute you’re out the door, your host is onto the next item on her looooong to-do list. So how can you keep yourself in her mind long enough to make it into a conversation with her colleagues? Here are three things you can do near the end of your visit, or afterwards, that may impress her enough to recommend you. [Read more…]

Four website MUST-HAVES to win more author visit invitations

MustHaves_150I’ve had a few friends ask, “How do you get so many author visits?” While I have quite a few colleagues who do a far greater number of visits than I do, I did manage, sometime around my third year of doing school visits, to triple the number of events on my calendar, (from 12 to 36) and that number has stayed fairly consistent since then. I think this jump was mainly due to some key changes I made to my website. [Read more…]

“Cold Calling” that works!

ColdCalling_150Last year, I discovered an effective way to add an extra visit or two to an out-of-town gig. I’ve never had much luck with “cold call” mailings — not only when I was new to the game, but also when I had quite a few published books that librarians would likely recognize. I just never saw any evidence that my mailings ended up anywhere but in the trash. So I had nearly given up on cold calling.

Then, I found something that really worked! [Read more…]